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Basil Dearden's London Underground
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 4 Discs
FEATURES
  • Includes the films: Sapphire, The League of Gentlement, Victim, and All Night Long

Basil Dearden's London Underground


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Basil Dearden
2011 | 399 Minutes | Licensor: ITV Global Entertainment

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $59.95 | Series: Eclipse from the Criterion Collection | Edition: #25
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: January 25, 2011
Review Date: February 4, 2011

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SYNOPSIS

After mastering the mix of comedy, suspense, and horror that helped define the golden age of British cinema, Basil Dearden (along with his producing partner Michael Relph) left the legendary Ealing Studios and struck out on his own. In the late fifties and early sixties, he created a series of gripping, groundbreaking, even controversial films that dealt with racism, homophobia, and the lingering effects of World War II, noir-tinged dramas that burrowed into corners of London rarely seen on-screen. This set of elegantly crafted films brings this quintessential figure of British cinema out of the shadows.

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PICTURE

The 25th edition in Criterionís Eclipse series presents four films from director Basil Dearden. The set includes the films Sapphire, The League of Gentlemen, Victim (previously released under the Criterion banner during their laserdisc days), and All Night Long. All of the films are presented in the aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and have been enhanced widescreen televisions. The films are presented each on their own disc, with Sapphire and All Night Long appearing on single-layer discs and the other two on dual-layer discs.

Though all decent, looking to each have received a fair restoration, all of the transfers, to a degree, are problematic. Sapphire, the lone colour film in the set, looks the worst if only because colours are off throughout. Colours look over saturated during large portions of the film, weak and faded in others, and blacks are washed. The black and white films have decent contrast and some fine gray levels, but again blacks never are as deep as they could probably be.

Print damage varies, possibly heaviest in All Night Long, though itís a close call between all of them. The damage ranges from small, almost unnoticeable marks to large scratches or tram marks; Victim has a fairly glaring tram mark during a section of the film early on.

The digital transfer are all fairly decent themselves, but artifacts can get heavy and theyíre probably most noticeable in Sapphire. When grain gets heavy in any of the films it can come off looking more like noise and compression than natural film grain. Edge-enhancement is kept at bay for the most part but when it does appear it can get ugly, with Victim possibly being the worst in this field.

Overall they have their problems but I was still generally pleased with them. It was nice to at least get Victim with a decent transfer, the previous Hve DVD leaving a bit to be desired.

6/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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Sapphire

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Sapphire

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Sapphire

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Sapphire

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Sapphire

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The League of Gentlemen

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The League of Gentlemen

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The League of Gentlemen

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The League of Gentlemen

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The League of Gentlemen

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Victim

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Victim

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Victim

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Victim

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Victim

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All Night Long

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All Night Long

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All Night Long

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All Night Long

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All Night Long

AUDIO

All four films contain Dolby Digital 1.0 mono tracks and they are all of about the same quality. A hiss is present throughout all of the films, and volume levels are generally low and the tracks lack fidelity. Dialogue is at least intelligible, but music can come off distorted and harsh.

5/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Like all Eclipse sets there are no special features to speak of. Each case in the set contains notes on the films by Michael Koresky, and as usual they all are great reads.

1/10

CLOSING

I was familiar with Victim but not the other films in the set, and though there may be some dated elements theyíre all strongly done and quite entertaining. Despite the transfers being a little middling in terms of what Iíve been used to from the Eclipse line as of late, itís yet another intriguing set from Criterion, and one I give a strong recommendation.




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